Do you like to learn new things every day about birds? Well, pay attention, because today you are going to discover something new about a very particular bird. It is neither more nor less than the long-eared owl.
Where does this bird live?
The long-eared owl receives the scientific name of asio otus. Perhaps the term “boy” in some languages can mean small, but the truth is that this bird is large in its family.
This species is endemic to North America and some Central American countries. They can especially be found in British Columbia, Mexico, and West Virginia. Although in recent years it has lost a lot of ground. You can also find some specimens in southern and central Europe.
How big is it?
The truth is that it is a large owl that can measure between 35-37 cm long. The females are usually a third larger than the males, but it is not something that can be detected much by sight if you are not an expert in this species.
The reason that it receives the name “boy”, in some countries tall, is because the ears are prominent. They are quite slender when compared to other species of owl. The color of their feathers is brown, with a little orange and some gray and white spots on the chest areas. The color scheme can vary depending on where they live so that they can have camouflage in their environment to hunt their prey and hide from predators.
Some may mistake it for the short-eared owl, even though it is thinner and larger, but the color pattern can be similar. It has large tufts on the head that look like ears, with the underparts cream-colored and striped. The eyes are orange or red, with gray tips on the wings. Its tail has little marked stripes and some dark spots on its wrists.
Anything else I can learn about this species?
Many people are afraid to see the long-eared owl fly since its movements are similar to those of a butterfly. The sounds it makes repeatedly can be annoying to humans living in the same area as them and can be heard more than half a mile from the point of origin.
As their main source of food, they often consume mice, but they also eat bats, squirrels, birds, insects, and snakes. They are excellent hunters, usually hunting at night, and can find different types of food in a single night. Despite the darkness that surrounds his territory, he rarely has a problem finding food. Go back low, which helps make it easier for them to reach their prey. They flap their wings silently, so their weights don’t hear them until they’re almost on top of them.
Although they are quite solitary birds, during the mating season the male and the female coexist in the same nest until their chicks are old enough to abandon it. The female can lay 3 to 8 eggs each time, which are then incubated by her for 25 days. The male will be the one to bring food for the female while the incubation lasts. When the chicks hatch, they are cared for by both and do not leave the nest until they are one month old.
As a general rule, their life expectancy in the wild is about 27 years, being one of the longest within the owl species. In captivity, specimens have been seen that have lived to be 30 years old.
Due to the great decrease of specimens, in the United States, they are a species considered in a “threatened” state. For this reason, its territory has been established as protected natural habitat, and an attempt has been made to promote the reproduction of the specimens.
It can be perfectly kept as a pet, being an affectionate and friendly bird. However, due to the annoying sound it makes, many people prefer to look for another specimen of owl that is a little quieter.
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